Conservatives have another sick burn on President Obama, noting that his State of the Union speech, during which he might talk about global warming, might be the coldest day for such a speech ever. BOOM. You lose, lefties. Anyway, the forecast temperature is still higher than the coldest speech ever. It probably won't even be the coldest since Reagan.
The Daily Caller, which gets very excited about such things, could hardly stifle its laughter: "Obama may be setting himself up for an awkward moment, however, if he talks about the perils of global warming in the middle of a cold snap." Oh, man! Boy, would his face be red (from the cold). The Drudge Report picked up some weird blog that just makes the claim and has a picture of the expected lows. How can you argue with Steven Goddard's "Real Science" blog?
Here's the latest forecast from The Weather Channel:
Twelve degrees as the low. Seems pretty cold. Probably the coldest ever. Run with it.
I admit that research is hard. It took me about 40 minutes to first find the dates of each of the speeches (thanks, Wikipedia!) and then to compare them to the temperatures in Washington, D.C., on those dates (thanks, WolframAlpha!). There's only solid data since the SOTU speech in 1937, but plotting each available speech date and its temperature looks like this:
On average, the temperature during the speeches since then has been just under freezing, at 29.11 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures fluctuate in part because the timing of the speech fluctuates; speeches range from early January to early February.
But the important data point is this: The lowest SOTU speech date was January 11, 1962, when it was 9 degrees in D.C. Which is lower than 12 degrees, if our math is correct. In fact, it was also colder than 12 degrees on January 27, 1987, when Ronald Reagan gave his second-to-last speech. "Coldest SOTU since Reagan" isn't quite as catchy.
One more thing we'll note. If you add a trend line (the line in red, below) to that graph of the temperatures at the speeches, they've been consistently getting warmer over the last century. I wonder if Drudge or Mr. Goddard know why.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.